|Image: Flickr User - KAZ Vorpal|
Donald Trump’s recent comments on America’s alliances, coinciding with the Republican convention last week, have further raised the anxiety levels of US allies about Washington’s global role after the US presidential election.
Trump told The New York Times that the US needs to be ‘properly reimbursed’ by allies, and he would be ‘prepared to walk’ away from alliance obligations if he can’t make that deal. If Russia invaded the Baltic states he said he would first assess whether they had paid their dues before honouring NATO obligations and defending them.
Trump’s alliance skepticism is long standing and deep seated, so perhaps it’s no surprise it hasn’t moderated with the rigours of the presidential campaign—especially given how little else has moderated during his candidacy. He’s also tapping into a popular strain in the US—reflected in Bernie Sanders’ candidacy as well—questioning the value of US global engagement.
Irritation with the level of allied contributions isn’t new. Since the post-WW2 creation of the US alliance system, US strategic protection has lessened allies’ need to build their own capability.